Discover what 15 women did to lose weight and keep it off. Like gray hair and bad knees, weight gain is something we usually have to look forward to (or dread) as we get older. Your metabolism slows down, your energy for workouts lags, and juggling your family’s schedule gets in the way of looking after yourself. But heading over the hill doesn’t mean you have to be overweight, too.
Sure, losing weight at an older age is harder than, say, your early 20s. But it’s not impossible, and these real-life 15 women, interviewed by Eat This, Not That!, prove it. They each share their favorite tips and tricks that helped them shed unwanted pounds and keep them off.
1) Track Everything
“I eat much smaller portions and track everything I eat. My best advice would be to track every meal in Lose It! right after or even better before eating it! I can’t always remember if I wait until later. Sometimes I track before I eat so I know if I have enough calories.” — Kari Hammond, 42, lost 78 pounds.
2) Ditch Sugar
“I gave up sugar and enjoy sweet treats made with stevia occasionally, but don’t eat sugar. Enjoying carbs, butter, red wine… but giving up the sugar made me lose effortlessly, and got rid of puffiness in my hands, face, and feet. No more painful achy joints I used to experience.” — Carrie Willard, 41, lost 20 pounds.
3) Control Your Portions
“I eat everything I want to eat but I try to make it much less and smaller portions. You change what your palate wants. Suddenly I’m craving fish and salad.” Shonda Rhimes, 47, told Extra of her 117-pound weight loss.
4) Eat Mindfully
“I recently lost 11 pounds by eating more mindfully. My biggest issue is knowing when I’m truly hungry versus eating emotionally. Before taking a snack or making a meal, I stop and ask myself, ‘Am I really hungry or am I eating out of boredom or stress?’ That has helped stop me from eating snacks due to stress or pushing a meal 1-2 hours later in the day because I was not really hungry. If I still want to have something in my mouth, I make myself a cup of hot tea with Truvia Nectar. This has only 10 calories per 1/2 teaspoon serving.” — Toby Amidor, RD, 42
5) Eliminate Processed Foods
“I cut out processed food. There was way too much food and putting too many chemicals in my body. I didn’t just cut things out, I added in more fruit and veggies — the good stuff. Actually I eat more now than I ever did, just found the right balance and the right kinds of foods.” — Denise Vitola, 42, lost 32 pounds
6) Pay Attention to Your Meals
7) Be Realistic
“The first biggest obstacle to overcome is making up your mind to lose weight. You have to cut out all the excuses and just set your mind to it. Next, you need to ask yourself, ‘what is realistic for me?’ Workouts that require you to jump up and down can cause injury to someone who is overweight and/or over 40.” — Suzanne Andrews, Occupational Therapy Practitioner and executive producer and the host of Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews. She’s lost 60 pounds.
8) Stop Stressing Over It
“I truly stopped worrying about it, over-analyzing, over-thinking, over-doing anything. I kinda went back to when I was pregnant and I just stopped constantly being worried about it and I think there’s something to kinda loosening up and not being so nervous and rigid about it that, bizarrely, has worked.” Melissa McCarthy, 46, told CBS This Morning. She’s lost a reported 75 pounds.
9) Eat Whole Foods
“When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and faced a life sentence of medication upon medication, I realized I had to take responsibility of my own health and act in the best possible way to take care of my body. Adopting a whole food, plant-based diet and within a few weeks I was able to see my glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels return to normal. The positive side effects I experienced included increased energy and body fat melting with a minimum amount of exercise. It is clear to me that taking control of my own health was the best decision I made in my life.” — Nara Schuler, 58, lost 80 pounds
10) Make A Lifestyle Change
“Don’t diet, create a lifestyle. What are lifestyle changes you can live with? A healthy lifestyle is a collection of habits, what habits can you replace to support your healthy life?” — Holly Stokes, 45, NLP Coach and founder of The Brain Trainer. She’s lost 40 pounds.
11) Limit Refined Carbs
Wendy Williams, 52, credits her 50-pound weight loss to cutting out refined carbohydrates and sugars. “But I’ve picked up some other great habits like juicing, and [eating] kale,” she said, according to ET Online.
12) Drink More Water
“Slowly increase water consumption to a gallon of water a day and add lemon or cucumbers. That way you can tell if you are truly hungry or just socially and emotionally hungry.” — KJ Landis, 51, Personal Wellness and Life Coach. She’s lost 50 pounds.
13) Don’t Torture Yourself with the Scale
“I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost, only because I stay away from the scale. I don’t think [stepping on the scale] is healthy. You’re setting yourself up to fail and women’s bodies fluctuate every month – certain time of the month in particular – we bloat a great deal.” — Janet Jackson, 50, told Peoplemagazine of her impressive weight loss.
14) Treat Your Food Addiction
“I lost weight by discovering, admitting, and treating my disease of food addiction. Diets do not help because they feed the idea that somehow being in control of our eating will solve our weight problem. Trouble is, our problem is not weight, it is a mental obsession and abnormal physical reaction to food. This is a more common albeit barely addressed problem in the U.S. Some blame the food industry, others put the onus on personal choices. The bottom line for me is to focus on recovery, not the ‘whys.’” — Nancy Virden, 55, Mental Health and Recovery Advocate. She’s lost 100 pounds.
15) Count Calories
“I can have anything I want, I’m just counting the calories. Knowing how many calories 6 ounces of tenderloin is and that pasta is 200 calories in a cup. So as long as I keep steady that way, and count it up, it’s easy to count because I know how many calories those foods that I really love are.” Kirstie Alley, 67, told Peoplemagazine of her 50-pound weight loss.